Following September 11 Events:The Italian Artist Who Reverted to ISLAM:I discovered that my previous information about ISLAM was all based on lies.

Giovanni Ferrotti is the ex-name of Muhammad Ferroti, the reputed Italian painter, who painted scenery for long years but could not understand what they meant until he embraced Islam. He said: “When I embraced Islam and learned the rules of Islam, I knew why I was living and the purpose of this life. I learned that the whole universe is AIIah’s and that he ordered us to deliberate on this great creation. AI-Daawah Magazine met with Muhammad Ferroti and had the following dialogue:
Q1. Would you please describe your life before reverting to Islam?
– I lived within a secular family with no idea about faith or religion. My parents were communist labours. They were widely separated from their Christian religion. I grew up within a family that did not know anything about religion. Their main objective was to collect money, bring up and teach their children and enjoy the pleasures of this life as much as they could. We believed that we have been created to enjoy this life and nothing more. This was my life till 2.Dec.2001 when I knew about Islam and embraced it. I felt as if I had been blind but suddenly recovered my vision.
Q2. Why did you embrace Islam?
– Islam is an international religion. All of us have certainly heard about it. I, however, had a negative view of it as a result of the things I read about it in our Italian newspapers or through the distorted images of Islam and Muslims presented by media. These means of media describe Muslims as the people who hate Western civilization and as terrorists. The only image they present of Muslims is that they are ignorant and uncivilized. All these campaigns would alienate Westerns from Islam and make them hate Muslims. The fact is that September 11 events, the accusations against Muslims as the culprits and the repression that the Muslim minorities faced in the West were all reasons behind knowing about Islam. I asked my Arab and Muslim friends who lived in Rome to provide me with books about Islam. Some of them gave me translations and summaries about Islam. Following reading these books, I decided to investigate the truth of the things given to me. I requested my friends to guide me to some Islamic sites on the Internet. I also met with some Muslims in Italy and learned many things about Islam. Consequently, I announced reversion to Islam with full conviction and free will.
Q3. What was the most important thing that impressed you in Islam?
– I was impressed by Islam as a religion and as a complete civilization that handles all issues of man, society, life and universe. I discovered that all things I had learned about Islam were just lies by Western media that aim at distorting Islam and keeping people away from it. Although I am still new to Islam, I consider it a religion that stands as an adversary to injustice and calls to equality, human rights and noble manners. It rejects racial discrimination and puts all people equal before Allah.
Q4. What about your previous work?
– I studied fine art in Rome. Italy is reputed since old times as the country of artists. I presented tens of portraits about nature and Italian countryside, mountains and life style. I also organized several fairs in Italy, Germany, Canada and the United States. I also teach the art of painting in a number of Italian institutes. Following reversion to Islam, however, they told me that Islam prohibits portraits of living creatures. Thus, it would be enough for me to depict and draw nature and cities only.
Q5. What was your community’s look at you following reversion to Islam?
– It did not change much. They accepted my understanding of my new religion which I embraced with full conviction. They do not interfere in my religious rites or acts as I do not interfere in their personal affairs. However, I try my best to introduce Islam to them because I am completely certain that if they truly knew it, they would accept it.
Q6. Do you feel that you have become a true member of the Muslim Nation with the same feelings?
– No doubt, Islam calls upon us to be as a united body and to feel the pains that the other members of the nation suffer. Following my reversion to Islam, I began feeling the tragedies of Muslims in Palestine, Iraq and other Muslims all over the world. The most important thing in Islam is that it is the religion of the group and calls upon all its followers to work as a group and to feel the solidarity that should prevail among Muslims. This is the thing that makes me feel that I belong to the Nation of Islam. I felt that the spirit of the group dominate all the rites of Islam like prayer, zakat, pilgrimage and fasting. All these pillars of Islam act within one context that calls to unity, cooperation and being sensitive to others’ issues.
Q7. Have you been to Makkah and Madinah?
– No, not yet. I will do soon by the will of Allah. I long to see these places and to feel the moments of happiness when I visit the centre of Islam. They remind me of the Prophet and his companions who lived in such a blessed region of the world.
Q8. Your last words, please!
– I would say that Islam is the religion of peace and has nothing to do with terrorism. Muslims are good people and reject violence. They deal with others kindly and respectfully. They do not harbor any grudge against any human being. They and their religion call to peace and try to enlighten the life of humanity and get people out from darkness to light.


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